Approximately 15,000 students were registered last Wednesday to vote in the General Election, thanks to a campaign by the USI.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) spearheaded a RockTheRegister campaign to try to increase the amount of students registered to vote.
USI President Kevin Donohue spoke about why he thinks it’s so important for students to register and vote: “Politicians work for voters and if you’re not voting they won’t work for you.”
“If students register and back it up with votes it will mean it will be easier to have our voice heard in the future.”
The USI encouraged students to register by visiting college lectures, handing out the registration forms and showing students how to fill in the forms. “In some of the colleges they went into lecture halls that had 200-300 students and every student was registered. It is amazing” said Donohue.
The hashtag #RockTheRegister was trending around Ireland on the 6th of October, which was when the main 24 hour campaign took place.
According to DCU Student and Young Fine Gael member Andrew Ralph, many TD’s in the senior Fine Gael party have also been trying to get young people to remain politically engaged. By sending letters to young people who recently registered for the same-sex marriage referendum it is hoped the will contribute their views on key issues.
Donohue believes that students vote about the issues rather than getting caught up in the politics side. The issues that he thinks the students will care about in the upcoming General Election are working conditions, cost of education, opportunities in Ireland and their local communities.
“Students didn’t care about the politics of the marriage referendum, they cared about the issue itself. And that is what they will care about when it comes to the next general election.”
By Róisin Nestor